This weekend will be held in my memory as one of the best weekends of my first year in Colorado Springs. I arrived in the Springs a year ago yesterday, and I spent my one year anniversary on the summit of Pikes Peak, volunteering for the Pikes Peak Ascent and the Pikes Peak Marathon.
The logistics of a marathon that’s halfway point is at 14,115 feet above sea level are unreal. From laying water hoses down the mountain to sherpa-ing supplies to aid stations that are only accessible by Barr Trail, the event is one of epic proportions.
Behind the scenes of every big race are teams of employees and volunteers whose job is to create a safe and fun race experience for athletes. As our race director said last night after the marathon, the behind-the-scenes crews of staff and volunteers help runners’ dreams come true.
We saw dreams come true this weekend when the first place woman on the Ascent knocked the existing women’s record out of the water, reaching the summit in just over two hours and 24 minutes.
I saw dreams come true this weekend as I had the honor of placing medals around the necks of many of the Ascent’s finishers. And I watched dreams slip away from runners who found themselves in the summit aid station instead of on the downhill half of the run on Marathon day.
Those of us working behind the scenes make magic for other people while we’re making our own memories and friendships, as well. In the months that I’ve been a volunteer for Triple Crown Running races, I’ve gotten to know genuine, hard-working, selfless men and women, some of whom I’ve come to call my friends.
So tonight, after spending two full days on the mountain, my mind keeps finding its way back to the thin air and sun and views. My fingers still hold the memory of placing medals over the heads of sweating, dusty, Ascent finishers. My ears ring with cowbells, applause, and the laughter shared by the volunteers I worked with. And my heart lifts a little higher realizing that I was part of a half and full marathon that more than 2600 runners will not soon forget.